Understand your own personality as well as the personalities of those around you

Understand your own personality as well as the personalities of those around you


1. Introduction

The term "Process Communication" actually covers two distinct concepts: on the one hand, it is a model for discovering and understanding one's own personality and those of others; and on the other hand, it is an effective communication tool (as you might expect!).

Developed in the 1970s by Taibi Kahler, a doctor of psychology, the Process Communication model is based on Eric Berne's Transactional Analysis. It was while working on the origin of Drivers and their classification that he discovered the Mini-Scenarios. These Mini-Scenarios constitute a set of predictable, even predictable, behavioural sequences, precursors of the entry into a Psychological Game. Interested in this work, NASA gave Kahler the task of establishing a model to assess the compatibility of individuals with each other and to identify strategies for defusing stress sequences. This is how the "Communication Process" model came into being.

It is important to note at this stage that it is a "model": it is an approximate vision (in the mathematical sense) of reality, a viable and valid reading in certain contexts. It does not show the whole life history of an individual, his tastes, his talents, or his psychological state.

A personality model:

The model defines 6 major Personality Types: Workaholic/Analyst, Persevering, Dreamer/Imaginator, Promoter, Empathetic, and Rebel/Energiser.

Each type has its own characteristics, including:

  • identifiable behavioural characteristics;
  • a way of perceiving the world;
  • strengths ;
  • psychological needs;
  • a preferred channel of communication;
  • and a predictable stress sequence.

We all develop characteristics of each of the 6 personality types, to a greater or lesser extent depending on our life history. We have :

  • A "base" type, acquired for life, which characterises us to a greater extent
  • A "phase" type, potentially changeable, which is the seat of our motivation and our Driver (i.e. the constraining messages that each individual carries within him or her and which lead to repetitive behaviours, particularly under stress).

The identification of one's basic type, one's phase type and the importance of each of the other four types in one's personality nourish self-awareness: it allows one to know oneself, and understand one's needs and one's "natural" reactions. The model also provides the keys to understanding the other person, their needs, and their vision of the world... These are the keys to positive communication.

To understand the relative importance of each of the 6 personality types in an individual, we consider in Process Communication (which we will abbreviate as "Process Com") that the personality structure of a person can be represented as a pyramid with 6 levels.

  • The relative position and size of the different floors thus inform us about the behavioural and emotional dynamics of a person.
  • The order of the 6 stages seems to be fixed around the age of 8 and remains the same throughout the individual's life.
  • The first level of the pyramid is the seat of a person's "base" type, developed in early childhood. During our early years, we develop characteristics of the other 5 personality types to a greater or lesser extent. Our basic personality type tells us about our 'main' type, the one we most identify with, the one by which we would define ourselves if we were one-stage archetypes. This main type provides us with its own set of characteristics, as listed at the beginning of the game: strengths, preferred communication channel, pre-communication channel, predictable stress sequence, etc.
  • The other stages of our pyramid then follow from the personality type we have developed the most during our life to the one we have developed the least.
  • In Process Com, the 6 personality types in the pyramid are healthy, valid and viable. There is no one type that is better than the other and the structure of the pyramid does not prejudge the intelligence of the person.

2. Portrait of the 6 personality types

In the synthetic portraits of each of the six personality types that follow, we consider, for the sake of simplicity, "fictitious archetypes" who have only one of the six types in their personality structure. It is understood that such individuals cannot reflect a concrete reality in our daily lives.

1. The Worker/Analyzer Type

The basic Workaholic perceives the world through the filter of factual thinking (some would say "unfiltered" but we will still call it a filter here since it can potentially lead them to omit what is not related to pure reason. Pascal said "two excesses: excluding reason and admitting only reason"). Thus, to make a decision, they need to gather all available information, classify it, and analyse it. Only then will they be able to choose "logically". Only then can they choose 'logically'. They, therefore, find it difficult to be synthetic: they sometimes get lost in the details when communicating.

They prefer a mode of communication based on the exchange of information, of facts. They can thus be perceived as cold by people with an Empathetic base; "She doesn't even smile when we say hello to her!"; or even as boring by people with a Rebel base; "We don't have time for all kinds of breaks: we're here to work!"

They are people who are very involved in the professional world or in an activity that is dear to them. They are keen to achieve the objectives set, whether exogenous or endogenous, and this is their primary motivation. They are logical, responsible, and organised and seek to develop their skills. They are sometimes afraid to take risks and do not like the unexpected and the approximate.

Their existential question, which unconsciously drives their behaviour, is "Am I competent?”

Thus, under light stress, Workaholic types become perfectionists and nitpick at details. Always trying to demonstrate unconsciously that they are competent, they then delegate less, because it will "go faster and be done better". This is the manifestation of a Driver Be Perfect Child, synonymous with the life position "I am only valuable if I am perfect, you are valuable". If the stress lasts or intensifies, Workaholic types switch to the life position "I am valuable, you are not" (+,-): they overcontrol, (re)check everything or even attack others on their presumed incompetence or lack of organisation.

Their psychological need: Recognition of work, and structuring of time The Workaholic type wants confirmation that what they have achieved is noticed by others.  The Workaholic type will therefore be motivated by bonuses, rewards... in short, any sign of recognition of the quality of their work.

2. The Persevering type

Persevering type people perceive the world through the filter of their opinions and value system. Their frame of reference allows them to evaluate situations and people in this way. If the Workaholic type chooses something because "it makes sense", the Persevering type chooses it because "it is normal" in their frame of reference. It is the "right" decision, a Persevering type will say, or "It is the right thing to do, you would be wrong to think otherwise".

They prefer a mode of communication based on the exchange of information and opinions as if debates were invented by and for the Persevering core.  They are dedicated and very committed to the causes they believe in.  They are keen to make a mark on those around them, and indeed on humanity as a whole, by leaving a mark or a work. They may be attracted to positions of influence: this is a way for them to establish their convictions, to put into practice the path they believe in.

Their existential question is "Am I trustworthy? The feeling of loss of trust from others can thus destabilise them.

Moreover, they need time to assess their interlocutors before deciding whether or not they are worthy of their trust.

Under light stress, Persevering type people become negative: they only see what is wrong and do not make positive comments: "if the work is well done, it is normal, I do not see why it should be valued" or, to a collaborator who has handed in a very well constructed report in record time: "I received the document. I hope it is not the final version: I found two spelling mistakes in it... This is the manifestation of a Driver Be Perfect Parent, synonymous with the life position "I am valuable, you are only valuable if you are perfect". If the stress lasts or intensifies, Persevering type people switch to the life position "I am valuable, you are not valuable" (+,-): they no longer listen, impose their point of view, cut off the floor. Driven by the feeling of being invested with a mission, they "go on a crusade".

Their psychological need: Recognition of opinions, recognition of work Like the Workaholic type, the Persevering type wants recognition for their achievements, with one difference: while the Workaholic wants to be recognised for their skills, the Persevering type seeks recognition for their commitment, for their belief in their convictions or mission.

Recognition of opinions refers to the need to hold on to a belief, an opinion, or a judgement and for these to be recognised by others. A Persevere does not expect his or her opinion to be shared, but to be recognised, listened to, and above all respected.

3. The Dreamer / Imagineer type

The basic Dreamer / Imagineer perceives the world through the filter of the imagination. They experience things in their heads rather than in the world. They rarely take initiative and need to be encouraged to act. With a great capacity for listening, introspection and concentration, Dreamers are patient and perceptive.

They prefer a mode of communication-based on receiving (not exchanging) clear information and instructions.

In a professional setting, they prefer to work alone, at their own pace, after receiving clear and precise instructions. They do not show much emotion and cannot stand to be pressured from all sides.

Their existential question is "Am I wanted? As a result, they passively wait to be asked, unconsciously for proof that they are wanted.

Under mild stress, Dreamers isolate themselves and withdraw into themselves, all the while hoping to be wanted or solicited. They engage in several projects in parallel without completing any of them. This is the manifestation of a Driver Be Strong Child, synonymous with the life position "I am only valuable if I am strong, you are valuable". If the stress persists or intensifies, Dreamer-type people switch to the life position "I am not valuable, you are valuable" (-,+): they feel powerless and wait passively for things to happen.

Their psychological need: Solitude

The Dreamer's need for solitude translates into a need to withdraw, to reconnect with their imaginative, even introspective reveries. At peace with themselves, the Dreamer enjoys spending time alone.

4. The Promoter type

People with a Promoter base perceive the world through the filter of action. They act first and decide later. Adaptable and highly resilient, they learn (especially from their mistakes) by doing.

Basic Promoters need to be in action all the time, so they are always looking for challenges, for something new. Excitement is their driving force: they don't need meaning in what they do, as long as there is a challenge and a nice reward!

They prefer a mode of communication based on the exchange of directives: communication is an initiator of action for them. "Enough talk, it's time for action! They want immediate results and act on their intuition by adapting to the results obtained.

Their existential question is "Am I alive? The constant search for action, novelty and challenge is aimed at answering this question in the affirmative.

Under mild stress, Promoter types expect others to take care of themselves, as they have taken care of themselves, to get to where they are, or even no longer tolerate those perceived as "dependent". This is the manifestation of a Driver Be Strong Parent, synonymous with the life position "I am valuable, you are only valuable if you are strong". If the stress lasts or intensifies, Promoter types switch to the life position "I am valuable, you are not" (+,-): they manipulate those around them, seeking to sow discord. They may even take reckless risks to their health or safety in order to satisfy their need for excitement in a negative way.

Their psychological need: Excitement

The Promoter wants to receive a large amount of stimulus in a short period of time to feel alive. They are thus attracted to quick wins, gambling, sales, high finance, etc.

5. The Empathetic Type

Empathetic people perceive the world through the filter of their emotions and feelings. They seek above all to have good relationships with others: this is a priority for them and, above all, a natural and vital need. They need conviviality and warmth, even in a professional setting. "Feeling" that the relationship with a particular colleague is not good is a major hindrance for them: they may find it difficult to work with that colleague, regardless of his or her level of competence. Similarly, they will feel uncomfortable in a "cold" environment that does not stimulate the senses.

They prefer a mode of communication based on personal attention. Nurturing, Empathetic people will demonstrate a high quality of listening and will be concerned with the satisfaction and well-being of their interlocutors. They have great intuition, they feel things and may have difficulty putting into words where or why their intuitions come from. "I don't know how to explain it, I just feel it!

Their existential question is "Am I lovable? For Empathetic people, all relationships are to be invested in, so they will have difficulty saying "no" for fear of breaking the relationship.

Under mild stress, Empathetic types will first try to over-adapt to please others, even overdo it. They lack confidence and firmness. This is the manifestation of a Driver's Pleasure, synonymous with the life position "I am only valuable if I please you, you are valuable". If the stress lasts or intensifies, Empathetic people switch to the life position "I have no value, you have value" (-,+): they feel victimised by the world, say "yes" to everything knowing that they will not be able to keep their promises, and multiply "stupid" mistakes that discredit them, with the unconscious aim of attracting negative personal attention.

Their psychological need: Recognition as a person, and sensory satisfaction. Recognition as a person means unconditional acceptance of the person by others, without conditions, without obligation, just because the person is. The Empathic wants to hear and above all feel that they are appreciated and loved.

The satisfaction of sensory needs is achieved through the stimulation of the 5 senses: music, perfume, nice clothes, a colourful and pleasant office... are all important aspects in the life of the Empath.

6. The Rebel / Energiser Type

The Rebel type perceives the world through the filter of reactions to what they feel. "I like / I don't like..." "I want to / I don't want to...": their decisions are made on the basis of their reactions to their feelings. They need playful and varied contacts and stimulating environments.

Their motivation is largely linked to the quality of their environment: "My colleagues are great! Jacques is boring...".

Completely uncomplexed, the Rebel base people have a great facility to say or do what others do not dare to say or do: the hierarchy does not impress them. They love to play, even (especially) while working. They are characterised by their great creativity and spontaneity.

They prefer a mode of communication based on playful interactions. Life is a big playground for them, which can make them seem unserious or irresponsible in a professional setting, especially to people with a Workaholic background.

Their existential question is "Am I acceptable? Rebel types will tend to expose their differences in an unconscious attempt to be accepted despite them.

Under mild stress, Rebel-type people start to sigh; everything becomes difficult for them, they can no longer cope, and they more or less directly invite others to do or think for them. This is the manifestation of a Driver Fais Effort, which is synonymous with the life position "I am only valuable if I show that I am making an effort, you are valuable". If the stress lasts or intensifies, Rebel type people switch to the "I'm worthless, you're worthless" (+,-) life position: they grumble, blame and shift responsibility to others. They use all their creativity to look for excuses and feed their bad faith.

Their psychological need: Contacts

The Rebel needs playful contact and stimulus to motivate them. Frequent interaction with others, gadgets, loud music, games, bright colours... can satisfy this need for contact. The Rebel likes to surround himself with "nice" and fun people.